Saturday, June 14, 2008
Evangelical fined for Liberty Bell demonstration
PHILADELPHIA-The leader of a Christian evangelical group who expressed his religious views to tourists near the Liberty Bell was placed on one year's probation for refusing to move from a sidewalk where demonstrations are banned. Repent America director Michael A. Marcavage, 28, of Lansdowne, Pa., was sentenced Friday after a two-day bench trial. He was fined $420 and ordered to notify the National Park Service and get a permit if he planned to return to the site."Welcome to the new America," Marcavage said outside the courtroom. "God help us. We're all headed for trouble if this is the direction the country is going in."Marcavage was charged Oct. 6 while he and others preached their religious views and protested abortion on a sidewalk outside the building that houses the Liberty Bell.The sidewalk is open to the public but the park service restricted demonstrations there after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.Officials at Independence National Historical Park offered Marcavage a demonstration site a half-block away, but he refused.U.S. Magistrate Judge Arnold Rapoport found Marcavage guilty of violating a verbal permit and interfering with park rangers.Defense lawyer C. Scott Shields said he would appeal.
As in the days of Noah...